Bad design: This is the menu where a wrong click triggered the Hawaii missile alert Saturday


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/16/bad-design-this-is-the-menu-w.html


#2

That poor guy :frowning: , he lost his job and is getting death threats simply because someone else did a shitty job.


#3

I think this sums it up pretty nicely.

https://witches.town/@vi/99360361162955771

In the ocean of inexcusably terrible UX that is computer software, this is a perfect storm of impossibly awful usability mixed with disastrous consequences for misuse.


#4

Something as serious as sending a nuclear strike alert should have a definite confirmation dialogue like: ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO SEND THIS NUCLEAR STRIKE MESSAGE?

The fact that it didn’t even have such a thing is a giant oversight. It’d be like Windows having a Hard Drive format option next to your Restart Windows button, and then have no confirmation dialogue.


#5

How many more lines of code could it take to add a “Are you sure you want to activate PACOM (CDW) State Only?”


#6

is this a direct result of trump and Mattis’ realpolitik in action or a failure on the state of hawaii’s part?

edit: i would love to see what the Terminal they were using looks like. bet its even older than the old shitboxes at the DMV and other govt facilities


#7

I read it did have a confirmation, and this was also clicked.

It’s shitty UI obviously, but if it’s your job to use it, learn how to use it, without freaking out millions of people. And he didn’t lose his job, he was put in another duty, apparently. Ah, government jobs.


#8

Maybe the confirmation was just the “Are you sure?” type rather than reiterate the selected choice, still that’s doubly bad.


#9

I think we can probably assume the UI of he confirmation was no less awful than the UI of the previous screen, heh. Disaster warning systems, awarded to the lowest bidder — what crap!


#10

The image is cropped but not shown are links for gigs in the area.


#11

Or for heaven’s sake:

Menu: test procedures

  • Test general message
  • Test PACOM (CDW) State only message)
    (etc.)

Different menu with many pixels between it and the other one: production procedures

  • Amber Alert message
  • Tsunami Warning message
    (etc.)

(upon selecting any item from either menu - a screen appears with a summary of what will be done, should you approve the action. The screens for production and test procedures appear significantly different, and the production ones additionally require you to type in your password or the day’s activation code or “I am not a cat walking across the keyboard” or something)


#12

Whatever high-IQ/low-EQ/design-challenged tech genius that coded that menu needs to be fired as well. At the moment he’s probably grumbling quietly about “idiot users” who don’t appreciate the superior intellect and rationality of coders.

“I swear, I thought I was just clicking through on a Casual Encounters ad!”


#13

Why is the menu a jungle of acronyms?
I had fun looking up the meaning CDW though…I’m sure in this case it stands for Certified Dog Walker. Or maybe Chinese Dance Workshop. :wink:


#14

JFC… would it be so hard to use color coded buttons? Or separate menus for real vs drill/tests? (different color schemes between the two?) fuck I’m just a lowly dev no UX expert but c’mon.


#15

Civil Defense Warning is my guess.


#16

I think you were responding to @hanni5 , but I like to think you were expanding on my and @Cunk’s Craigslist UI joke about “CDW” being the abbreviation for some esoteric kink.


#17

There are two places in particular where this attitude seems to manifest most egregiously: software designed to be used by a small number of people, and open-source software. In the former case, UX just “doesn’t matter” because “nobody’s going to see it”. In the latter, the unhelpful assumption is that if you have a problem with it, you’re either a) stupid, or b) too lazy to do it yourself, and in either case you should stop complaining, learn Ruby on Rails, and build your own thing if it matters so much to you.

I know this has been a problem for decades, but it really feels like it’s being accelerated or amplified by the bull-headed decision to eliminate any vestiges of the humanities from technical education. At the end of the day, software is still used by people, so some degree of effort should be put into understanding how they work.


#18

Another possible factor might be the state cheaping out on hiring the dev. Either way, it’s definitely been a problem for decades, as I had to constantly send back shite like this when I was a PM during the dotcom boom.

I think we’ve both met coders who long for the day when their software will be used only by the AIs with whom they have a lot in common.


#19

Test messages and real ones shouldn’t even be the same damn program. My ghod who wrote that.

And indeed, more than one confirmation using different locations and reverse “OK” (because people reflexively click “OK” or “Yes” too easily. Click “OK” to cancel this warning" should be the second verification or similar wording reversed from the first confirmation.

Or they have to type a specific response. "Type “Send genuine warning” to proceed.

Geezus on a go-kart that is pathetic design.


#20

Does the order of items even make sense? Is it geographical, or just as random as it looks?

Like I might expect PACOM and DRILL - PACOM to be beside each other, if the coder thought that would be tidy. Or, as above, drills, tests, and whatnot separated from the real alerts. Or maybe in alphabetical order, I dunno. But this doesn’t seem to show any rhyme or reason.